Sunday, March 26, 2017

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid was a novel I was drawn to after reading (and then reviewing) How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia from Hamid and while this latest book didn't resonate with me quite as much as the first, it's definitely lyrically written and interesting.

The cover jacket for Exit West notes it telling the story of Nadia and Saeed, two young people who meet and fall in love in a country on the brink of civil war. The book then turns mystical with doors being available that people can enter through to far away places in the world. The result of these doors is a world of refugees, people fleeing one conflict-filled land in search of somewhere better, with that arrived at place torn by conflict being natives and immigrants.

Hamid writes of these conflicts, and how societies form and orbiting societies coexist, through the prism of two people finding their way together in an ever changing and dangerous world, all the while with exceptional prose, like about Saeed's father, and the arc of a parent's life along with the arc of their child's.

Two of the phrases from Mohsin that stood out to me from the book were around how the world featured "religions pulling away from nations, and cities pulling away from hinterlands, and it seemed that as everyone was coming together everyone was also moving apart" and "depression is a failure to imagine a plausible desirable future for oneself." While the first of the phrases was at a macro level, the second very much about individuals and how they react to their circumstances, both negatively, and in many places throughout the book, positively.